This Beef Ravioli Sauce is made with onion, garlic, beef, crushed tomatoes, basil and store bought ravioli.
One such dish is the ever-comforting cheese ravioli nestled beneath a velvety Bolognese sauce. In this culinary journey, we're embracing the beauty of simplicity. Our cheese ravioli in classic Bolognese sauce recipe ditches the elaborate ingredients, making way for the pure essence of this beloved Italian favorite.
This recipe is an invitation to the heart of Italian cooking, where the flavors are bold, the preparation is straightforward, and the results are nothing short of magnificent. So, let's venture into the world of uncomplicated elegance, where cheese ravioli meets the soul-warming embrace of a classic Bolognese sauce, all garnished with the fragrant essence of fresh basil. It's a taste of Italy you won't want to miss. What remains is a harmonious marriage of ground beef, tomatoes, and a symphony of herbs and spices. And to bring a touch of freshness to every bite, we'll crown our creation with the vibrant allure of fresh basil leaves.
What is bolognese sauce?
Bolognese sauce, also known as "Ragù alla Bolognese" in Italian, is a rich and savory meat-based sauce that originated in Bologna, Italy. It's one of the most famous Italian pasta sauces and is typically served with pasta, especially tagliatelle or fettuccine, but it can also be used in lasagna and other Italian dishes.
Why you will love this recipe
Full of flavor: Simmering the sauce for a long time infuses the flavors of the beef, tomatoes, and garlic.
Hearty: This is very hearty because of the beef, pasta and cheese combination.
Kid Friendly: I used to eat this growing up and I was so obsessed.
Serves a crowd: It is easy to double this sauce, making it great for your next dinner party.
What kind of sauce goes with ravioli?
If you are using a meat ravioli, I would make this same sauce but omit the beef. You would only need to cook for 20 minutes. If you are using spinach or cheese stuffed ravioli, I love making a bolognese type sauce like this.
Ingredients for Beef Pasta Sauce
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Ground beef
- Crushed tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Cheese ravioli
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Beef Ravioli Sauce
Prepare the Bolognese Sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes until it becomes soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the ground beef.
Break it up with a spatula and cook until it's browned and no longer pink. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook for 2-3 minutes to enhance the flavors. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and bay leaves and let the sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook the Cheese Ravioli: While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the cheese ravioli according to the package instructions until they are al dente. This usually takes about 2-4 minutes for fresh ravioli, or as directed on the package for dried ravioli. Drain the ravioli and set them aside.
Serve: To serve, place a portion of cooked cheese ravioli on each plate. Spoon the Bolognese sauce generously over the ravioli. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Hint: Use a Mix of Meats: For a flavorful and balanced sauce, consider using a combination of ground beef and ground pork. This mix of meats adds depth to the sauce.
- Meat Substitutions:
- If you prefer a vegetarian or vegan version, you can substitute the ground meat with plant-based alternatives like crumbled tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein (TVP), or mushrooms. These options can mimic the texture and flavor of ground meat.
- Aromatics Substitutions:
- Onions and garlic are fundamental aromatics, but if you have allergies or personal preferences, you can use shallots or leeks in place of onions and garlic-infused olive oil or garlic powder as a substitute for minced garlic.
- Tomato Substitutions:
- Instead of using canned crushed tomatoes, you can opt for fresh tomatoes. Simply blanch and peel them before dicing and adding to the sauce.
- For a tomato-free version, you can use a creamy base like a béchamel sauce or a cashew-based cream sauce for a different flavor profile.
- Liquid Substitutions:
- While red wine is a traditional ingredient, you can omit it if you prefer not to use alcohol. You can replace it with beef or vegetable broth or even water.
- If you're lactose intolerant or avoiding dairy, you can substitute milk with a non-dairy milk like almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk.
- Herbs and Spices Substitutions:
- Customize the herbs and spices to your taste. Basil, oregano, and thyme are common choices, but you can experiment with other herbs like rosemary, marjoram, or parsley.
- Adjust the level of spiciness by adding or omitting red pepper flakes.
- Oil Substitutions:
- Use your preferred cooking oil, such as vegetable oil or canola oil, instead of olive oil or butter.
- Cheese Ravioli Substitutions:
- If you can't find or prefer not to use cheese ravioli, you can substitute with any other type of pasta or filled pasta of your choice, like spinach and ricotta ravioli or plain pasta such as spaghetti or fettuccine.
Beef Ravioli Sauce Variations
Cooking is a chance to be creative! Have fun with it and feel free to make your own variation.
- Vegetarian or Vegan Bolognese:
- Replace the ground meat with plant-based alternatives like crumbled tofu, lentils, mushrooms, or textured vegetable protein (TVP) to create a hearty vegetarian or vegan Bolognese sauce.
- Seafood Bolognese:
- Substitute the ground meat with seafood like shrimp, crab, or a combination of different seafood. Add seafood stock or clam juice for extra flavor.
- Spicy Bolognese:
- Kick up the heat by adding more red pepper flakes, diced jalapeños, or a splash of hot sauce to the sauce. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt to balance the heat.
- Creamy Bolognese:
- Stir in heavy cream, half-and-half, or coconut milk for a creamy version of Bolognese sauce. This will give the sauce a luscious and rich texture.
- Mushroom Bolognese:
- Create a mushroom-centric Bolognese by using a variety of mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake, and porcini. The mushrooms add a meaty texture and earthy flavor.
Check out this Marry Me Chicken Recipe.
- Large Pot or Saucepan: Use a large pot for cooking the pasta (ravioli) and for making the Bolognese sauce.
- Stirring Utensils: You'll need a wooden spoon or a spatula for stirring the sauce and pasta.
- Chef's Knife and Cutting Board: For chopping onions, garlic, and any other ingredients.
- Skillet or Frying Pan (optional): If you prefer to brown the ground meat separately before adding it to the sauce, you'll need a skillet or frying pan.
- Colander or Strainer: To drain the cooked ravioli after boiling them.
- Grater (if using cheese): If you're grating cheese to garnish the dish, you'll need a cheese grater.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurately measuring ingredients like olive oil, tomato paste, and spices.
- Lid or Cover: To cover the saucepan or pot while the Bolognese sauce is simmering.
- Pasta Server or Tongs: To remove the cooked ravioli from the boiling water.
- Plates or Bowls: For serving the finished dish.
- Garnishing Utensils: If you plan to garnish with fresh basil or other herbs, you'll need a knife or scissors for cutting them.
- Pot Holders or Oven Mitts: To handle hot pots and pans.
How to store Beef Ravioli Sauce
- Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. Do not leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.
- Transfer the sauce to an airtight container. Glass or plastic containers with lids work well for this purpose.
- Seal the container tightly to prevent air from getting in.
- Label the container with the date so you can keep track of its freshness.
- Place the container in the refrigerator.
Freezing (For Longer Storage):
- If you want to store the sauce for an extended period (beyond a few days), freezing is the best option.
- Allow the sauce to cool completely before freezing. Hot or warm sauce can cause condensation, which can lead to freezer burn.
- Portion the sauce into smaller airtight containers or freezer bags. Smaller portions are easier to thaw and use as needed.
- Squeeze out excess air from freezer bags and seal them tightly. If using containers, make sure they have a secure lid.
- Label each container or bag with the date of preparation.
- Lay the bags flat in the freezer for easier storage, and stack the containers if necessary.
Beef Ravioli Sauce Top tips
- Use a Mix of Meats: For a flavorful and balanced sauce, consider using a combination of ground beef and ground pork. This mix of meats adds depth to the sauce.
- Sauté Aromatics Well: Take your time sautéing the onions and garlic. Cooking them until they are soft and translucent, without letting them brown, helps build a solid flavor base for the sauce.
- Simmer Slowly: Allow the Bolognese sauce to simmer on low heat for an extended period. Slow cooking helps meld the flavors and develop a rich, thick sauce. A minimum of 30 minutes is recommended, but longer simmering, even up to a few hours, can yield even better results.
- Use High-Quality Tomatoes: The quality of the crushed tomatoes significantly impacts the flavor of the sauce. Opt for high-quality canned crushed tomatoes or use fresh, ripe tomatoes when they're in season.
- Balance the Seasoning: Taste the sauce as it simmers and adjust the seasonings as needed. Balance the flavors with salt, pepper, and herbs to suit your taste preferences.
- Avoid Overcooking Ravioli: Cook the cheese ravioli just until they are al dente. Overcooking can make them mushy. Follow the package instructions for the best results.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove